28 Jul 2017

McLaughlin out to continue hot form

11:26 am on 28 July 2017

Supercars championship leader Scott McLaughlin will take the form of an almost unprecedented qualifying streak into this weekend's Ipswich Super Sprint event.

The Ford star holds a narrow six-point advantage over Holden ace Jamie Whincup in a tense title battle but it has been McLaughlin's qualifying speed which has ignited his title challenge.

The New Zealander is on a streak of 12 straight front-row qualifying performances.

It is a record for the modern Supercars era with only greats Peter Brock (22), Allan Moffat (16) and Dick Johnson (15) achieving more consecutive front-row qualifying efforts.

"We've obviously been pretty strong in that department and hopefully that keeps going," McLaughlin told AAP.

"I've got a lot of confidence in that area but I've just got to try and keep maximising it when I can."

That qualifying form could be the difference at the tight 3.12km Queensland Raceway where passing opportunities are at a premium.

McLaughlin's championship lead was cut with Whincup picking up his first win of the year in the final race at the Townsville 400 earlier this month.

Less than 500 points covers the gap between first and sixth on the championship standings.

Scott McLaughlin for DJR Team Penske

Scott McLaughlin for DJR Team Penske Photo: PHOTOSPORT

McLaughlin says his status as top dog doesn't change his mindset heading into the second half of the year.

"To be up the front and in a good position at the halfway point is fantastic but, I've said it before, there's a lot of races left to go," he said.

"We've got to keep pushing on ... those Red Bull guys are coming back fast as well as Prodrive and it's going to be a very tough second half of the season."

Almost overlooked in McLaughlin's impressive 2017 form has been his lack of familiarity with his DJR Team Penske car after his switch from Garry Rogers Motorsport at the end of 2016.

Ipswich, where McLaughlin won a race during his breakthrough 2013 campaign, is his team's test track, meaning he heads there with a level of knowledge he has not held for the other circuits so far this year.

"Whenever I get back there it sort of feels a little bit like my home track ... it's my first run where I've already driven the DJR car at before," he said.

"That definitely helps me get acquainted with everything pretty quickly and we can really get down our program straight away."


Adelaide - Qualified 6th and 3rd, finished 17th and 2nd

Tasmania - Qualified 1st and 2nd, finished 14th and 2nd

Phillip Island - Qualified 1st and 1st, finished 10th and 14th

Perth - Qualified 2nd and 1st, finished 1st and 1st

Winton - Qualified 1st and 1st, finished 1st and 5th

Darwin - Qualified 2nd and 1st, finished 2nd and 1st

Townsville - Qualified 1st and 1st, finished 1st and 2nd

Has 12 straight front-row qualifying performances. Only Peter Brock (22), Allan Moffat (16) and Dick Johnson (15) have more consecutive front-row efforts in Supercars history.

Has nine pole positions for the season. Shane Van Gisbergen (two) is the only other driver with more than one pole position this year.